'Adopt a monkey' urgency grows

By staff writers
July 6, 2008

Find out more about adopting a monkey through WWF here.

The orang-utan could be the first great ape to become extinct if urgent action is not taken to protect the species from human encroachment in South-east Asia, reports the Independent newspaper, bringing increased urgency for more people to adopt a monkey.

According to a new study Orang-utan numbers in Indonesia and Malaysia have declined sharply since 2004, mostly because of illegal logging and the expansion of palm oil plantations. The orang-utan population on the island of Sumatra has dropped nearly 14 per cent since 2004, to 6,600. In parts of Aceh province, no orang-utans were found at all.

For the last few years initiatives have been launched by groups like WWF's adopt a monkey scheme to draw attention to it, but campaigners say that more needs to be done.

The latest study – which appears this month in the science journal Oryx – discovered the orang-utan population on Borneo had still fallen by 10 per cent, to 49,600 apes, despite the adopt a monkey scheme and other initiatives.

The study is the latest of many to predict the demise of orang-utans, which are found only in Indonesia and Malaysia. It described the monkey's losses on Borneo as occurring at an "alarming rate", and said the situation on Sumatra was one of "rapid decline", adding: "Unless extraordinary efforts are made soon, [the orang-utan] could become the first great ape species to go extinct."

In May, the Centre for Orangutan Protection said that just 20,000 of the endangered primates remained in the Central Kalimantan jungle on Borneo, down from 31,300 in 2004. It concluded that the monkeys could be extinct there by 2011.

Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's top palm oil producers, have aggressively pushed to expand plantations amid rising demand for biofuels, leading to the adopt a monkey schemes which safeguard their habitat.

People can help to safeguard the future of wild monkeys as well as giving a gift to someone they love by adopting one of these monkeys through groups like the World Wildlife Fund.

The WWF want to give monkeys and other primates the chance to live and breed in relative safety By adopting a monkey you help enable the World Wildlife Fund to monitor and protect them in their natural home.

Monkey adoption can all be done quickly and easily online. When you give the gift of adopting a monkey, the person on whose behalf you have bought the gift gets a gift pack including a cuddly toy, adoption certificate, WWF pen, adoption card, background details of the species and information on the specific work undertaken by the WWF in this area.

Find out more about adopting a monkey through WWF here.

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